Farvel (farewell) Bergen!

by Jasmine Angus, University of Bergen, Norway

Farewell Bergen 

All the cliches come to mind when trying to answer the question “What did you get from this year? My experience living abroad in Bergen, Norway was incredibly rewarding and life-changing. Undertaking this year abroad has granted me the unique privilege of immersing myself in a new culture and gaining a deeper understanding of the world. Living in Bergen, I have been constantly reminded of the beauty and simplicity of nature, something I will miss incredibly when back in Manchester. The opportunity to explore Norway’s rich history, unique traditions, and pristine natural wonders has broadened my horizons and instilled in me a profound appreciation for the exploration of new cultures. It has been a whirlwind with both the most insatiable highs and devastating lows. It has rounded me as an adult and I will always remember my time in Bergen. 

Travelling around this year has been a huge privilege. From sunny Barcelona to icy Tromso,  Scandinavian Copenhagen to gothic Gdansk, the adventures this year have been far and wide. It has fuelled a hunger to travel as well as to learn about new cultures and experiences. The only problem is, after this year I don’t think I’ll have the finances to continue funding this addiction hahaha!!

While the journey was undoubtedly enriching, it was not without its challenges. Homesickness, at times, crept in, making me long for the familiar comforts of home. Overcoming homesickness required me to step out of my comfort zone, forge new friendships, and develop a support network. Ultimately, this enabled me to grow emotionally and discover my inner strength. 

Living in a foreign country has taught me more about myself than ever before. I have learned resilience, strength, and determination as a result of this transformative journey. My self-esteem and confidence have increased as a result of overcoming challenges, such as language barriers and cultural differences. In the face of adversity, I now know that I am capable of adapting to unfamiliar situations and thriving. I have learnt that not everything is in my control and that is fine, I have become more relaxed and assured in myself, and that is potentially the thing I am most proud of. 

Not to fool you all but university is actually a part of the year abroad too (sad I know 🙁) but don’t get too upset because it can be really fun too! One of the most valuable aspects of my year abroad was the opportunity to delve into disciplines outside of Geography. Being exposed to different academic perspectives and courses has broadened my academic horizons and ignited my curiosity further. For example, this semester I was taught by a guest lecturer who came all the way from Israel to teach us about Israeli and Palestinian food anthropologies. It was unlike anything I had learnt before but it was an amazing course that I really enjoyed. Furthermore, this experience has helped me solidify my academic interest in Geography and refine my focus for future studies. It has given me a clearer direction for my academic journey and inspired me to pursue specific areas of interest with renewed passion. 

My year abroad in Bergen has been an adventure filled with personal growth, academic exploration, and invaluable cultural experiences. Through navigating the privilege of travel, overcoming homesickness, discovering myself, and refining my academic interests, I have developed a strong set of transferable skills that will undoubtedly support my employability. This transformative journey has nurtured my intercultural confidence, resilience, self-esteem, and financial responsibility. As I bid farewell to Bergen, I carry with me cherished memories, a broader worldview, and a burning passion to continue embracing a life of exploration and curiosity. Overall, the cardinal takeaway from this year is to make the most of every opportunity and fill each day with as much joy as possible. 

Bergen, you have been nothing but a joy and I will be so sad to see you go. From waking up and seeing Lovstakken every morning and the unpredictable weather and getting caught out by the rain more times than I care to admit. You have my heart and a part of my soul too. But don’t worry Norway, I’m not quite done with you yet. 

I have intentionally left some unfinished business…

I’ll be back, just you wait 😉 

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